TSN off the mark with take on Connor McDavid and Art Ross Trophy

There's no denying Connor McDavid is on a tear right now, but for TSN's Martin Biron to call the Art Ross Trophy his to lose is quite simply incorrect.

Edmonton Oilers v Pittsburgh Penguins
Edmonton Oilers v Pittsburgh Penguins / Justin Berl/GettyImages
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One day after being held without a point for the first time in 14 games, Connor McDavid got himself back on track in style. He needed just 68 seconds to take advantage of a Penguins turnover, to give the Oilers an early 1-0 lead.

McDavid would go on to add a couple of assists and take home the game's Second Star. Of most importance, the Oilers left Pittsburgh with an impressive 4-0 win over a struggling Penguins team.

As a result of his performance on Sunday afternoon, the five-time Art Ross Trophy winner remains in contention for another one as we reach the business end of the regular season. As of Monday morning he is third in NHL scoring, with 103 total points.

Nathan MacKinnon of the Avalanche leads the way with 111 points, while the Lightning's Nikita Kucherov is second with 107 points. Between the two of them only Kucherov as previously won the Art Ross Trophy, once in 2018-19.

In terms of who will end up taking home the Art Ross Trophy, it figures to be an exciting conclusion to the 2023-24 campaign. However, for one hockey media analyst in particular, it's almost a forgone conclusion who will win it.

McDavid's trophy to lose

More specifically, former NHL goaltender Martin Biron. While appearing on TSN, he was asked about the chances of McDavid winning his sixth Art Ross Trophy, and he said: "I'm putting it at 75 percent, and it's climbing, I'm telling you. About a month and a half ago, McDavid was 18 points behind Kucherov and 17 points behind MacKinnon. He gained 14 points in six weeks on Kucherov and he's gained nine points on MacKinnon."

Biron went on to further explain the thinking behind his rationale. He said: "He has just been on fire of late and for me, when I look at Connor McDavid, a guy that has been there and can go on long streaks, multi-point games for multiple games in a row, I say it's (his) trophy to lose."

Now we certainly understand why Biron has so much confidence in the Oilers captain. Further, you have to give due respect to someone who was previously a first round draft pick and good enough to play 16 seasons in the NHL.

However, we would still disagree with the assessment that the Art Ross Trophy is McDavid's to lose. First up there's just the literal sense of it, in that he isn't even leading the way in points right now; in order to lose something in the first place, you surely must have had the lead, at some point which he hasn't done at any time so far this season.

Next, even if we take away the literal aspect of what Biron predicts, it's still going to take a monumental effort on the part of the seven-time All-Star, to come out on top when it's all said and done. As much as he has performed wonders to close the gap over the past month and a half, let's look at the more recent production of all three contenders:

Last 10 games

Goals

Assists

Points

McDavid

3

15

18

MacKinnon

8

14

22

Kucherov

2

12

14

Yes, McDavid has closed the gap on MacKinnon from 17 points to eight overall, but as per the above chart, said gap has widened again more recently. The 2021-22 Stanley Cup champion has been on a tear of his own of late, which has also kept the Avalance in contention for top spot in the Central Division and potentially the Western Conference as a whole.

To be clear, we're not saying McDavid doesn't have a good shot at winning the Art Ross Trophy. We just don't agree with Biron's assessment, that it is his to lose.

If nothing else, one thing which does help the Oilers superstar, is that he still has 19 games left to play in the regular season. In comparison, MacKinnon and Kucherov both have 17 games remaining with their respective teams.

One thing we do agree with Biron on more readily, is that he thinks McDavid will reach 100 assists on the season. At the time of posting he has 79 assists in 61 games, which would project to 104 over 80 games.

Next. Erratic form both a cause for hope AND concern for Oilers. Erratic form both a cause for hope AND concern for Oilers. dark

If the three-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner achieves this, he will become just the fourth player in NHL history to have 100 assists in a season. Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr both accomplished the feat once, while Wayne Gretzky managed it a sensational 11 times.

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